March 2020 Articles

SANTEE COLLECTS BETTER THAN EXPECTED TAXES, HAS $1.5 MILLION SURPLUS TO SPEND

By Mike Allen

Photo by Mike Allen: Left to Right: Councilman Rob McNelis, Councilman Stephen Houlahan, and Councilman Ronn Hall.

 

March 2, 2020 (Santee) -- As some East County cities grapple with dwindling revenue and even contemplate disincorporation, Santee appears to be improving its bottom line, thanks to better than expected revenue from property and sales taxes.

At its Feb. 26 meeting, the Santee City Council got an update on the city’s financial situation and discussed how it might best use a projected $1.5 million in surplus funds at the end of the current fiscal year in June.

The city usually adds most of any net profits from its operations to its reserves, but because the reserve balance now exceeds the prescribed target of 20 percent of the city’s operating budget by about $1.5 million, the council can allocate this money to other uses, said Tim McDermott, Santee’s finance director.

CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR VOTE IF YOU VOTED FOR A CANDIDATE WHO DROPPED OUT, OR CHANGED YOUR MIND ON WHO TO SUPPORT?

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2020 (San Diego) – If you still have a mail-in ballot but want to change your vote (for instance, if you marked a candidate who later dropped out of the presidential primary, or simply changed your mind on a measure or candidate), there are two ways to change your choice, according to San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael  Vu.

“If they still have their ballot, they can cross out their initial choice and vote another candidate,” Vu advises voters in an e-mail response to ECM. “If they cross out and select another…and we can determine their intent, we will count the [choice] that they did not cross out. “

There is a second option. Vu says a voter can also “surrender their ballot and receive a replacement ballot. It is important that they go to their assigned precinct in order to receive a replacement ballot that matches the one they have in hand.”

AZTECS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL FALLS TO UTAH STATE IN OVERTIME SHOOTOUT 81-79

SDSU rallied from a 15 point second-half deficit to force overtime

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

March 1, 2020 (Las Vegas) - With the score tied at 79 in overtime, a jumper from Utah State’s Hailey Basset with three seconds left in extra play would decide the fate of San Diego State women’s basketball’s 2019-20 season as the sixth-seeded Aztecs fell to the 11-seed Aggies 81-79 in the first round of the Mountain West Championships inside the Thomas and Mack Center Sunday evening.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BALD EAGLE IN EAST COUNTY

East County News Service
 
March 1, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Photographer Debbie Merrill snapped these spectacular close-ups of a bald eagle, America’s national symbol.  The photos were taken at an East County location that is not being disclosed to protect the bird’s safety.
 
Bald eagles are rare in San Diego County, with only a handful of nesting pairs in recent years. Sightings have previously been reported in the Cuyamaca, Lakeside, and Lake Morena areas.
 

FOOTHILLS CHURCH IN EL CAJON HOSTS `BLESSED WITH A DRESS,’ FREE FORMAL DRESSES FOR YOUNG WOMEN

East County News Service
 
March 1, 2020 (El Cajon) – Foothills Christian Church, 365 West Bradley Ave., El Cajon, will host “Blessed with a Dress,” a free event for young women needing high-quality, fashionable formal wear for school dances and other special occasions. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, young women are invited to visit the church campus and select a free dress, pair of shoes and jewelry for any upcoming formal event. Hundreds of formal dresses will be available for selection, said church officials.
 
Church officials are seeking donations of gentle used dresses, shoes, jewelry and other accessories. Items can be dropped off Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the church office, 350 Cypress Lane, Suite B, El Cajon.
 

SDSU SOFTBALL DOWNS CSUN 7-4 IN SAN DIEGO CLASSIC FINALE

Aztecs use four-run sixth inning to rally past Matadors

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego State used a four-run sixth inning to rally past CSUN, 7-4, in the San Diego Classic finale Sunday afternoon at SDSU Softball Stadium. The Aztecs (14-8) finished the tournament with a 3-1 record, only falling to defending national champion and No. 1/1 UCLA, 5-0, when the Bruins scored all five of their runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.

BUTTIGIEG ENDS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

East County News Service

Photo via Wikipedia cc by SA

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Pete Buttigieg will be announcing plans tonight to suspend his presidential campaign, a senior campaign aid has informed National Public Radio. The New York Times and Fox News confirm the reports.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana is a veteran of the war I Afghanistan and first openly gay presidential candidate. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford Universities, he also the youngest of the major contenders, at age 38 and had been likened to Kennedy for his youthful charisma. 

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: GEORGETTE GOMEZ, CANDIDATE FOR 53RD CONGRESSIOAL DISTRICT

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Georgette Gomez, San Diego City Council president, is the California Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate in the 53rd Congressional District, where Congresswoman Susan Davis is retiring.

Daughter of immigrant parents, if elected, she will be the first LGTBQ Latina in Congress, where she wants to focus on needs of working families and communities. On the City Council, she’s worked to expand affordable housing and protection for renters, as well as implementing the city’s climate action plan.  She holds an environmental degree from San Diego State University and as former associate director of the Environmental Health Coalition, led a campaign to protect children from toxic chemicals in neighborhoods.

The 53rd Congressional district includes the heart of the city of San Diego as well as La Mesa, Lemon Grove, part of El Cajon, Jamul, Chula Vista, and more.

Hear our interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM Radio, by clicking the audio link, or scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

U.S. DRAWS CRITICISM AS POLITICIANS, NOT SCIENTISTS, LEAD RESPONSE TO COVID-19

California outbreak may be tied to botched federal response

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Photo by Mikael Häggström, M.D. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87223640

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) --  President Donald Trump is facing criticism for disbanding the team of scientific experts in 2018 who would have been tasked with preparing for and handling pandemics in the United States, to cut costs. He left vacant key posts at the Centers for Disease Control in charge pandemics and further sought to slash CDC funding. His administration also allowed some exposed cruise ship passengers back into the U.S.without waiting for test results.

Now Pres. Trump has put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 outbreak, instead of health officials, the New York Times reports.  Pence will also handle all White House messaging on the virus, a move that has critics concerned that health and science experts could be muzzled.  Pence has previously drawn criticism for his handling of an HIV epidemic in Indiana that slowed efforts by public health officials to contain the disease.

Trump has drawn sharp bipartisan criticism as well as Senate Republican committee chairs and global health officials for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.  The disease to date has infected over 85,000 people in 60 nations, killing nearly 3,000. The first U.S. death occurred in Kirkland, Washington, where an outbreak is suspected at a skilled nursing facility at which dozens of residents and healthcare workers have fallen ill.

COVID-19 VIRUS IS MORE DEADLY THAN FIRST BELIEVED; FIRST U.S. DEATH CONFIRMED

141 people are being monitored in San Diego County for possible exposure

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 85,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide on every continent except Antarctica, causing approximately 3,000 deaths, the World Health Organization reports. The first U.S. death has occurred in Washington state and at least 30 cases have been identified in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. These include cases among people who did not travel overseas recently and it is unknown how they were exposed to the virus.

San Diego County has 141 people  being monitored who may have beene exposed .  Mexico also reported its first case this week.

Now, a broad study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveals that the COVID-19 virus has a death rate nearly as high as the 1918 influenza epidemic, which killed 50-100 million people worldwide and infected a third of the world’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The standard flu kills only about 0.1% of those infected. By contrast, the 1918 epidemic had  fatality rate of 2.5%.  As for COVID-19, out of 72,314 cases in China studied, JAMA reports a death rate of 2.3%--but much higher in older people and patients with underlying health conditions. 

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB ENDORSES YES ON A , “SAVE OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE” CAMPAIGN

 

 

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- Citing the endless parade of misinformation being peddled to defeat Measure A, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob today announced she endorses Yes on A.

“I have no problem with campaigning hard, but some folks against Measure A have gone too far,” said Supervisor Jacob. “I can’t sit back while outrageous and offensive claims are being made. I’m supporting Measure A because it simply ensures that voters, not five elected officials, will have the final say on County General Plan busting projects in the rural and semi-rural areas.”

STEYER DROPS OUT OF PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tom Steyer, cc by SA

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Tom Steyer announced yesterday that he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary, though his name will still appear on California ballots.

The billionaire businessman stated after a third place finish in South Carolina, “I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency.”

LISTEN NOW: ECM RADIO SHOWS FROM OCT., NOV. AND DEC. 2019 ARE NOW ONLINE

Our radio shows from October, November and December 2019 are now online.  For links to listen plus an index with full list of topics and interviews in each show, click here or click the "read more" link and scroll down for audio links below the index. (Audio files may take a few moments to load.)  

Our interviews included Craig Reed from Envision La Mesa, representatives from the U.S. Census, biologist Renee Owens from Wild Zone Conservation on mountain lions, San Diego Foundation representatives on their Opening the Outdoors program, and Susan Neiman, author of Learning from the Germans.

The East County Magazine Show airs Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m. on KNSJ, 89.1 FM.  Our shows rerun on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Audio: 

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